Have you had a bad day recently? This is me raising my hand alongside you. My most recent “bad day,” like most days, wasn’t wholly bad. It just had some bad parts that I allowed to spread across my entire day and sour the entire mix.

That doesn’t need to happen! While I’ve yet to reach the point where I avoid bad days entirely, here are some things I’ve found help turn what could be a bad day into something better.

1. Make a list of things you’re grateful for

This one is so simple! If you’re having a rotten day, grab a piece of paper and start listing things you’d be grateful for if you were in a grateful mood. As expected, you’ll soon find that the growing list of things to be grateful for in your life dwarfs whatever is ruining your day and you can move on with your life. Read more about the qualities of grateful people here.

2. Clear out your inbox

If you don’t work at a job that requires you to spend time around the corporate email monster, this might not resonate with you as much. But if you do, know that your perspective can be changed dramatically just by selecting all your emails and placing them into an archive folder. If it needs to be done today, move that email back into your inbox and knock the task off. Setting aside the conversations that can wait in favor of earning a productive finish to your day will always prove worthwhile.

3. Phone a good friend

Call a friend who won’t allow you to gripe about your problems for more than a few minutes before turning the conversation to something far more interesting than what’s making you sad. Talking to somebody you trust who cares enough to guide you toward positive thinking has tremendous value. It’s basic, sure. But so are most things that work really well yet are so often forgotten early on.

4. Help out a stranger

Doing something for others has the dual benefit of making the world a better place while at the same time taking your focus off your own problems as you work to solve another’s. If you’re having what’s shaping up to be a bad day you may find it very helpful to go out of your way to help somebody you don’t know at all or might not know very well. I always do!

5. Drop something from your schedule

If you’re overwhelmed by a day gone awry one very quick solution is to drop something of lesser importance from your schedule and take some time for yourself. This is terribly simple and quite easy to do but the part of your brain that tries to convince you your work won’t survive without you will get in the way. Don’t listen to it!

6. Take some time just for you

Most of us don’t schedule time alone and away from others. Whether its so we can listen to music, go for a walk, a run, or grab a cup of tea in a quiet corner, taking the time you may have freed up by clearing your schedule (see above) and investing it back into yourself will render dividends galore.

7. Start laughing

Laughter, even if you really have to work at it to begin with, truly is the best medicine to cure any ailment that threatens to wreck your day. You can find jokes online, watch silly youtube videos, hang out with a hysterical friend, or whatever gets you giggling. The big point here is that if you are aware of what makes you laugh you’re in a great position to set yourself up to laugh even when your day tries to get you down. We can learn a lot from kids about having fun and being goofballs. That sort of childlike whimsy, if carried into your day, will help you cut off the bad days before they get out of control and help maximize the days each week you look back on and say, wow, that was a great day!

If you’d like to chime in with additional tips or a link to something that really makes you laugh, I’d love to read your thoughts!

Stay blessed.

Image: PhotoRita

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